On the occasion of 12 August – International Youth Day – the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) warns of the increasing marginalization of young people in Montenegro and their exclusion from the decision-making process that directly affects them. The (in)visible segregation of young people is taking place before our eyes, the needs and problems of young people are not adequately addressed, which affects their (dis)trust in the institutions of the system and the attitude towards building a future outside Montenegro.
CCE organizes a series of programmes that address young people and records their growing dissatisfaction with the environment in which they live.
Milica Pavlović, a student at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts from Bar, reflecting on the position and opportunities for young people in Montenegro, assesses: „We are exhausted of lies and big empty promises. We do not want to listen to and watch our parents, and the older generations, who transfer their battles and problems to us. Instead of dealing with the ‘90s, we could also deal with our future. We want to finally be given those opportunities here, in our own country, instead of waiting for the first chance to get as far away from it as possible.“
Radovan Vojinović, a student at the Faculty of Law from Nikšić, is satisfied with the efforts of young people, but not with the support of society. „The position of young people in Montenegro is at an enviable level, but not because the state has made it possible, but because young people have shown how to achieve results even in the most difficult times. The situation linked to the COVID pandemic, the lack of involvement in making important decisions, the rejection and misunderstanding of most of the proposals made by youth organisations, etc. are just some of the problems that young people have faced… Nevertheless, they responded to this with numerous humanitarian efforts, suffering “closures”, with patience, understanding and selfless contributions….“, he considers.
The COVID19 pandemic has had devastating consequences for society as a whole, and vulnerable groups, in particular, have been affected. Young people are also a segment of the more vulnerable layer of society, considering the pandemic has deepened economic inequality, social uncertainty, worsened the quality of education, negatively affected mental health. The Report on the Rapid Social Impact Assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in Montenegro, April–June 2020, published by the United Nations Office in Montenegro, which was conducted in the first wave of the pandemic, points to the fears of young people regarding the consequences of the COVID19 pandemic, especially in the area of academic and economic issues.
Most young people believe that there is no systemic care for them, and the regional research on the youth of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, in which CCE as a partner worked on the Youth Study Montenegro of 2018/2019, indicates a low level of trust of young people in political decision-makers and a high tendency to leave the country, that is, a stable 50% of young people who want to emigrate from Montenegro, believing that this would be a more prosperous option for them.
In addition, the unstable and uncertain socio-political situation in the country is deeply affecting young people, causing even greater problems due to their limited capabilities and the effects of the pandemic. CCE estimates that young people should not be given importance on a teaspoon and from time to time, because it leads to the radicalization of young people, their “brain drain” and it limits the overall progress of society.
International Youth Day was established by the United Nations in 1999 and is celebrated every 12 August as an opportunity for governments and states to point out the issues and problems of young people around the world.
Željka Ćetković, Active Citizenship Programme Coordinator